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As we are getting closer to the end of the academic year and the carefree days of summer, it leaves us students with a lot of free time. What better way to fill it than with some books you should be adding to your TBR list! Don’t worry, there won’t be any textbooks or philosophical readings that make you want to pull your hair out, rather stories that are mostly light-hearted and let you get away from reality for a little bit. Listed below are some of my most anticipated summer releases, ranging from meet-cutes, memories of senior year, and fantasies about a mermaid society in the modern world.


A Song Below Water

Releasing: June 2, 2020

Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes. But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either. 

Why I’m Excited: Black sirens in a story about misogynoir set in an alternative Portland with an extremely pretty cover? Yes, please and thank you, ma’am. I’m a sucker for fantasy stories, and this had me hooked after the first line and sinking after seeing the cover.


If We Were Us

Releasing: June 2, 2020

Everyone at the prestigious Bexley School believes that Sage Morgan and Charlie Carmichael are meant to be….that it’s just a matter of time until they realize that they are actually in love. When Luke Morrissey shows up on the Bexley campus his presence immediately shakes things up. Charlie and Luke are drawn to each other the moment they meet, giving Sage the opportunity to steal away to spend time with Charlie’s twin brother, Nick. But Charlie is afraid of what others will think if he accepts that he has much more than a friendship with Luke. And Sage fears that things with Nick are getting too serious too quickly. The duo will need to rely on each other and their lifelong friendship to figure things out with the boys they love. 

Why I’m Excited: This book just seems so sweet and charming and just readable. High school can be a hard time to capture authentically in novels, but I have a feeling this author will be able to take you back to the bittersweet days of senior year.


Again, Again

Releasing: June 2, 2020

If you could live your life again, what would you do differently? After a near-fatal family catastrophe and an unexpected romantic upheaval, Adelaide Buchwald finds herself catapulted into a summer of wild possibility, during which she will fall in and out of love a thousand times—while finally confronting the secrets she keeps, her ideas about love, and the weird grandiosity of the human mind. A raw, funny story that will surprise you over and over, Again Again gives us an indelible heroine grappling with the terrible and wonderful problem of loving other people. 

Why I’m Excited: The concept of the multiverse is very, very hard to nail in fiction. But this author is perfect to take on this type of story, as she manages to always give her worlds a bit of magic, even though they seem like it could be real. I can’t wait to see what she does with this concept.​


The Falling in Love Montage

Releasing: June 9, 2020

Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not be in a care home with early onset dementia – a condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So, she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out. But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms. Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: they don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.

Why I’m Excited: Here we have it folks, a perfect summary for a YA summer rom-com. Give me all the cheesy tropes! From the first blurb alone and not to mention another GORGEGOUS cover, (I really like covers, okay?) I’m ready for the funny banter and emotionally complex characters within this fun setting. ​


The Boyfriend Project

Releasing: June 9, 2020

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah – along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor – have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status. For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating, which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true? ​

Why I’m Excited: With the current state of the world, I’m looking reads that bring me a few things: a strong connection between friends and family, characters who are a force to be reckoned with, and a lovable couple. This book promises all that and then some!​


Today, Tonight, Tomorrow

Releasing: July 14, 2020

Today, she hates him. It’s the last day of senior year. Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been bitter rivals for all of high school, clashing on test scores, student council elections, and even gym class pull-up contests. While Rowan, who secretly wants to write romance novels, is anxious about the future, she’d love to beat her infuriating nemesis one last time. Tonight, she puts up with him. When Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan has only one chance at victory: Howl, a senior class game that takes them all over Seattle, a farewell tour of the city she loves. But after learning a group of seniors is out to get them, she and Neil reluctantly decide to team up until they’re the last players left—and then they’ll destroy each other. As Rowan spends more time with Neil, she realizes he’s much more than the awkward linguistics nerd she’s sparred with for the past four years. And, perhaps, this boy she claims to despise might actually be the boy of her dreams. Tomorrow…maybe she’s already fallen for him.

Why I’m Excited: Enemies to lovers rom-com? If the first line in the blurb says she hates him, and the last line says she’s fallen for him, you already know where my heart stands. It’s fallen for the book before it’s even been published. Plus it’s set in Seattle…what more could you ask for?​


BONUS: Now That I’ve Found You

Releasing: August 25, 2020

Following in the footsteps of her überfamous grandma, eighteen-year-old Evie Jones is poised to be Hollywood’s next big star. That is until a close friend’s betrayal leads to her being blacklisted . . . Fortunately, Evie knows just the thing to save her floundering career: a public appearance with America’s most beloved actress—her grandma Gigi, aka the Evelyn Conaway. The only problem? Gigi is a recluse who’s been out of the limelight for almost twenty years. Days before Evie plans to present her grandma with an honorary award in front of Hollywood’s elite, Gigi does the unthinkable: she disappears. With time running out and her comeback on the line, Evie reluctantly enlists the help of the last person to see Gigi before she vanished: Milo Williams, a cute musician Evie isn’t sure she can trust. As Evie and Milo conduct a wild manhunt across New York City, romance and adventure abound while Evie makes some surprising discoveries about her grandma—and herself.

Why I’m Excited: I know this book isn’t coming out until the end of summer, but I just wanted to include it because this author’s debut novel was so good! It seems like this will be a combination of flawed but lovable characters with a mystery in the background, plus a disaster road trip that can remind anyone of their summer memories!​


So, did any of these novels pique your interest? If not, no worries, one of the many joys of books is that there are so many to choose from! Summertime is almost here, so I hope that you are able to go outside soon, laying out on a lounge chair with a smoothie in one hand and an amazing book in the other. Stay safe and stay reading!

Tara Wilson

Washington '22

Tara is currently a third year at University of Washington that is majoring in Creative Writing and pursuing a job in creative development. She is originally from Southern California, which is probably why she loves Disney and the ocean so much. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, and exploring the city.
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